A Digital Turn
Recognizing Asian Gendered Resistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:Anti-Asian racism, COVID-19, digital activism, gendered resistance
Anti-Asian racism has escalated significantly during COVID-19, yet scholarly attention to this increase in racial violence has been scant. With rising cases of physical and verbal violence against the Asian community in the Global North, Asian activists have taken to social media and digital activism to contest anti-Asian racist tropes and to broaden global awareness around increasingly hostile anti-Asian hate. After the Atlanta Massacre which led to the death of six Asian women, Asian women have been instrumental in leading anti-racist coalition building, virtual forums, and online campaigns in the protection of Asian women and girls, workers, and undocumented communities. The use of social media and online organizing at a time of ‘stay-at-home’ orders exposed the significance of the Internet in Asian feminist and anti-racist resistance. These channels have given Asian women the opportunity to call attention to the gendered and racist systems of oppression that have dispossessed them of their rights. This piece recognizes the Internet as a space where Asian women have been creatively organizing alongside other women of color in vocal and subtle ways. It reveals how digital media have unearthed Asian women's hidden leadership in oftentimes racially exclusionary environments within mainstream feminist movements in the Global North, and highlights the importance of Asian women in advancing a new line of progressive anti-racist politics. This piece calls upon scholars to interrogate the use of digital media by Asian activists, and in particular Asian women, to give credit to Asian communities' oftentimes neglected and overlooked leadership in anti-racist movements.
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